Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jackie - It's All Up to the Man Now

Here's the deal. When you've been in college as long as I have, the Financial Aid people don't like it. In fact, they try really hard to make sure you aren't in college as long as I have been -- and generally, with good reason. However, I am still in school -- with my own good reasons.

I knew I was approaching the credit limit for financial aid assistance and had some plans in place for when it was going to run out. I thought everything was hunky dory for this semester when the school computer systems said my financial aid was planned to come through just like normal. I even got a postcard in the mail telling me that everything was in order.

But then it didn't come through and when I contacted them to find out I'm on financial aid suspension. You're shocked, right? Me too. I get good grades and I haven't reached the limit [thought I'm on the brink], so I was completely blindsided by this news. Turns out, they won't let you go over the limit, which is why I was put on suspension [without warning] now. The very friendly person answering my emails told me I can fill out a Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal in hopes they will change their mind in my case and continue my aid. I filled out the form, wrote a personal statement and had to meet with my academic adviser. She's a rather busy person, so we had a brief email conversation about what was going on and I dropped off the form for her to fill out. That set got lost and I ended up dropping off another set a few days later. When I went to pick those up, they had been filled out wrong. After a third, successful, attempt, I walked all my forms down to the Financial Aid office yesterday and turned everything in.

I'm asking for prayers, thoughts or good juju -- whatever it is you go for -- in the direction of the person reviewing my case, because it's all up to the man [or woman], now. And I literally see someone at an old desk examining every word I wrote to determine of I'm worthy. ... Wow, I shouldn't think about that anymore. It's a little overwhelming. But on the brighter side, this person can both approve for me to get my financial aid this semester and can increase the credit limit to include the rest of my schooling education, if they see see fit.

Now, if they don't my financial goals are pretty much out the air because I'll have to come up with $4,000 in the next 9 weeks or I won't be able to continue my education. But right now, I have high hopes.

In case you're interested, I included my personal statement in the comments section if you've ever wondered for yourself what the heck I'm doing with my life.

Oh... and did I mention my check engine light turned on last week?


  1. Jacqueline P. Alvarez
    SID: 830-106-457
    SAP Appeal Request

    I’ll start by saying I am all too aware of how many credits I have completed. I can feel it especially when the end of the semester rolls around and I ask myself, again, why I’m torturing myself. But the truth is, I’m not torturing myself at all. I am happy, finally happy, about where I am at right now and where my life is going. I have finally come up with a life plan -- one I’m excited about and actually see myself following through with, both of which are major accomplishments.

    And I’d like to add here that my future life plan does include the process of paying back my student loans, but I’ll get to that in a little bit. I’ll start at the beginning.

    In high school I dreamed of becoming a professional singer. I loved it and could think of nothing else. Then I got sick -- really sick. So sick that my entire body rebelled against me causing half of my hair to fall out and my voice to “break.” When my ENT said the words “vocal chord dysfunction” and “you will probably never sing professionally,” I was crushed.

    So I took music business courses instead of performance when I came to UCD. Though in the end I found I was only finishing the degree to say that I finished, not because I had plans to work in the business side of music. There I was, getting ready for my last semester when I needed one more performance credit, and the only class that fit into my schedule was a beginning voice class. I swallowed my pride knowing it was not going to be pretty and registered for the course. I was shocked at what came out. My voice was somewhat temperamental and not exactly smooth, but it was working! So I registered for private instruction, and with work, I was able to get it into good enough shape to audition for and get accepted into the Vocal Performance program here at UCD.

    So this is it, this is my redo. This is my chance to do what I’ve always wanted to do. And I have definitely embraced it. More than one instructor has told me that I might be the hardest working student in the program. Maybe part of that is because I’m an “older” student and I am taking every opportunity I can while I’m in school to set myself up for success.

  2. When I decided to follow my dream, I knew I was signing up for 8 consecutive semesters, 4 more years of school. I knew that was 4 more years of homework and a schedule that changes every season. But 4 more years closer to following on of my passions. And I’ll add, I’m now 8 weeks past half way and my desire to work hard and complete this degree has only grown.

    Helping people is one of my biggest passions, and music is included within that. I plan to use music to help entertain and communicate. And I also plan to teach other students. I hope to champion other musicians the way my private teacher did for me two years ago when I needed it most.

    I also love deep human interaction, which is why I am going to minor in Psychology here at UCD and plan to get my master’s in counseling after graduating. Many, many friends have told me I have a gift when it comes to walking along side people who are going through hard or confusing times, and I don’t want that to go to waste when there are so many hurting in the world.

    I’ve thought about counseling for years, but have never pursued it out of fear I would not be able to handle the emotion of working through other people’s stress. But then it hit me all at once, music is entirely cathartic for me -- a way for me to process and release. And I love music, so why not marry the two and become a part-time counselor, part-time musician.

    All that to say, I’m a work in progress of becoming something great, but I need a little help along the way and I hope you will consider allowing me to be supported by financial aid while I complete my education.

    I have always played my part in the puzzle holding down a part time job at a local non-profit, MOPS International, for the past 8 years. And I do live frugally, but non-profits aren’t the highest paying, and living expenses and tuition are expensive and I can’t do it without help.

    Going into additional debt right now is not something I am taking lightly and would not do so if I didn’t have a future plan for paying off my debt. I believe the partnership of both counseling and musician set me up for a successful future. I have been in close contact with both professional counselors and musicians for several years now, and have a network of people who have already agreed to help me set up successful businesses.

  3. I also plan to continue working a stable job while setting up my own practices to maintain financial stability. So IF music and counseling go awry, and I don’t end up marrying someone independently wealthy [which I’m not ruling out... you never know], I will continue employment where I'm at now or somewhere else full-time which would allow me to paying down my student debt after graduation.

    I will be the first to admit that I regret that I was unable to figure out these plans sooner in life and hadn’t spent years working on my Music Business degree when it wasn’t helping me get to an end goal, but here I am now with 26 credits left in my music degree and 12 left for my minor [which includes courses I’m registered for this semester].

    And then it’s on to my future.

    Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

  4. Good for you Jackie! Praying whoever reads your letter does so with grace and extends your aide through the end of your degrees.


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